2016 revealed the true nature of America’s left & right. It’s bad news.

Summary: America entered a new era in 2016. The facades crumbled, revealing the true nature of America’s Left and Right. Their lies, the war against us (the big middle), and their madness. What comes next, how we react to this news, will reveal our nature.

Stop Extremism

Years ago, Chet Richards (Colonel, USAF, retired) told me that America’s hopes for reform rested with an alliance of the middle majority against predictors on the Left the Right. I following the lead of political scientists, disagreed — since much of US public is has centrist views only by averaging their extreme left and right beliefs (see WaPo articles here and here).

Time has proven Chet right and me wrong. Powerful elements on the left and right are moving against the rest of us. Worse, both have gone bonkers. This has put America on the fast track to disaster, although we cannot foresee details of the end. We trapped between them, like children with no team to choose — bewildered by the increasingly odd events around us.

We’re immersed in fake news, fake facts.

Our opponents on the Left and Right have seen our gullibility, and quote logically exploit it. The Right has done so more effectively. They have ensnared their followers in webs of fake history, fake economics, fake quotes, and fake news. Trump’s serial lies are the apotheosis of decades of the Right successfully building an audience that prefers pleasing lies to harsh truths.

The Left got into the game late, but has moved quickly to catch up. Their five decades of exaggerating (or ignoring) scientists’ work to create nightmares of doom for humanity — or the world — including a decade or so of exaggerating or misrepresenting the IPCC’s work about climate change. Their denial of climate scientists’ work on what they call the “pause”.

The election of Trump has pushed much of the Left into a delusional state (examples herehere and here).  The scale of exaggerated claims are difficult for me to imagine, let alone take seriously. Trump has a perverted attraction to his daughter. Trump is Hitler. The Republicans are Nazis. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is the American Gestapo, per Erik Loomis (assistant professor of history at U RI). My favorite is “The American Gestapo and Its Slave Labor Force.” The exaggerated, even fake, stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with Russians (details here), Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee (details here), and the entire complex of Trump-Putin conspiracy theories (see this devastating deconstruction in the liberal NY Review of Books).

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Robert Reich’s program to save the Left after a decade of defeats

Summary: Here one of the Left’s top political analysts sketches out a path forward for the Democratic Policy after its well-deserved defeats during the past decade. While tactically sound, he ignores the two weaknesses that prevent the reform of America.

Dead donkey

 

The Life of the Party:
7 Truths for Democrats

By Robert Reich.
At his website, 20 January 2017.

 

The ongoing contest between the Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders wings of the Democratic Party continues to divide Democrats. It’s urgent Democrats stop squabbling and recognize seven basic truths:

The Party is on life support. Democrats are in the minority in both the House and Senate, with no end in sight. Since the start of the Obama Administration they’ve lost 1,034 state and federal seats. They hold only 16 governorships, and face 32 state legislatures fully under GOP control. No one speaks for the party as a whole. The Party’s top leaders are aging, and the back bench is thin.

(1)  The future is bleak unless the Party radically reforms itself. …

(2)  The strongest and most powerful force in American politics is a rejection of the status quo, a repudiation of politics as usual, and a deep and profound distrust of elites, including the current power structure of America. {He conflates populism and progressivism, different but overlapping phenomena both rooted in rebellion against elites.} …

(3)  The economy is not working for most Americans. …

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The Left sees President Trump and goes mad

Summary: Sometime in 2015 the Left caught fire. This fire still burns hot, with a flame pleasing to the Right. It shows that the Left is lost in their delusions, and will offer only loud but ineffective resistance to Trump.

The Death Of Humanity

Good liberals look at the American people and see themselves (i.e., the good and the wise). They see the loyal minorities. They see the deplorables. It’s a political vision incompatible with winning.

“But I think there’s an explanation {for Trump’s win} that runs more true to the facts and human psychology. These voters want to divorce themselves of responsibility for doing anything for the folks falling down the ladder. “They’re f**king assholes.”

— Once posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

Benjamin Franklin in the film 1776 gave a good reply to this.

“These men, no matter how much we may disagree with them, are not ribbon clerks to be ordered about – they are proud, accomplished men …And whether you like them or not, they and the people they represent will be part of this new nation that YOU hope to create. Now, either learn how to live with them, or pack up and go home!”

Many good Leftists explain the election results as a result of American’s racism. They have their own values, which they wish to impose on America.

“Speaking only for myself, I’m committed to open borders as a moral position rather than an economic one. So it doesn’t have a lot of relevance in discussions about the relevant economics.”
— Comment posted at Lawyers, Guns, and Money. I don’t see it now. Perhaps it was deleted.

How many immigrants would the US have with open borders? Could we culturally or economically absorb them without massive damage? No problem! Being a leftist means never having to say you’re sorry.

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Campaign 2016: America passes into new hands

Summary: Campaign 2016 has achieved what many thought impossible, unifying America’s ruling class — behind Hillary Clinton. If Clinton manages this skillfully, it will mark the end of political polarization among our elites and begin a new era of bipartisanship (while America’s citizens remain weak and fragmented). The effects could be huge. She and the Democrats will owe it all to Trump.

Hands holding America

This election has become a carnival sideshow, behind our rulers are arranging a new government for America. There is no screen concealing these things. We just prefer to watch the entertaining follies up front, while our rulers take of business on the back of the stage.

There are three hundred thousand entries on Google for “political polarization”, mostly whining about its awfulness and pining for the bipartisanship of the days of yore. Worry no more! America’s ruling class has unified behind Hillary Clinton. Now she has to just build it into an enduring coalition, as FDR did.

Clinton’s coalition is a broad one, built by betraying some the Left’s core beliefs (just as the GOP came to power in 1964-1982 by adding racism to its platform). Bold foreign wars and aggressive domestic surveillance won support of the neocons and military-industrial-complex. Goldman, as usual, got in early and built Clinton’s support from Wall Street. The coy Clinton-Kaine will-they-won’t-they act prepares for their eventual support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (hence her support by big business).

Slowly people are seeing the truth. Such as Aran Gupta at CounterPunch

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Why the Left will divorce Hillary and the new Democratic Party

Summary: Campaign 2016 is weird almost beyond belief. The oddness of the Republican-Right side has been much discussed, but less so the weirdness of the Democrat-Left. Their Party is not what it once was, and their members are not happy about the change. 2016 might spark a divorce.

Ready for Hillary

The Democratic Party is not what it was

Quietly, with little notice, the Democratic Party has evolved into something quite different than the party that brought the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, and so many of the Boomers’ formative events in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Left of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (including the right to say “F***) has become the 21st Century Orwellian speech movement, inventing new prohibitions, mandating new forms of address, and declaring what can and cannot be said. For example, see “Bias Response Teams” by Robby Soave at the Daily Beast — “On a College Campus? Don’t Try to Tell a Joke”. Also see this amazing analysis by Eugene Volokh (Prof Law, UCLA) at WaPo: “You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use” — Excerpt…

“The NYCHRL [New York City Human Rights Law] requires employers[, landlords, and all businesses and professionals] to use an [employee’s, tenant’s, customer’s, or client’s] preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.”

The anti-war party of 1965-1975 has become dominated by warmongers, advocating wars under our Responsibility to Protect women, children, and minorities. We destroy a secular regime in Afghanistan (& its women’s rights), then we wage war on the new regime to restore women’s rights (see more here and here). Our top warmongers flock to Hillary Clinton’s banner, ready to push America into new wars (Africom’s expansion lays the foundation for another decade or two of war).

The Democratic Party instituted broad and deep regulations of corporations from 1930 to 1976, culminating in the 1970’s Left that flirted with socialism. Now they align behind the wife of Bill the bank deregulator, recipient of massive financial support from Wall Street — in exchange for favors to be provided later. “Why Hillary Clinton’s 90s nostalgia is so dangerous” by Thomas Frank, op-ed in The Guardian — “To put the arch-deregulator in charge of an economy wrecked by financial bubbles is sheer folly.”

Since the 1930s the Democratic Party advocated stimulative economic policies to maintain full employment and raise household incomes. Now they do so only as a last resort, during recessions. Doug Henwood at Jacobin says it well in “Doom and Gloom Democrats” — “Democratic strategists are determined to discredit ambitious social agendas.” (Doug Henwood edits Left Business Observer and is the host of Behind the News. His new book is My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency.)

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American politics isn’t broken. It’s working just fine for the 1%.

Summary: Political commentary often reveals more from its blindness than its insights. For example, a widely-cited analysis at Salon by journalist Andrew O’Hehir tells us some entertaining harsh truths — but avoids deeper, useful insights that would disturb his Outer Party readers (i.e., politically passive managers and professionals).

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx on 13 April 2016.

Two despised frontrunners, two dying parties & a deeply broken system
By Andrew O’Hehir (journalist) at Salon.

“How did we get here? Trump & Clinton may be the most hated frontrunners in history, dueling symbols of a duopoly in decay.”

He opens with some myth-making, the Left’s efforts to fit events into their standard narrative. It conceals the important dynamics of campaign 2016, things too disturbing for the Left to see.

So here’s what’s happening: Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable. Both political parties are struggling through transparently rigged primary campaigns that have made that ludicrous process look more outdated than ever. Nobody cares about the Democratic vote in Wyoming and it’s not going to matter, but when Bernie Sanders dominates the caucuses in that empty, dusty and Republican-dominated state and wins seven of its 18 delegates, doesn’t that sum up the whole damn thing?

O’Hehir is making a purely emotional appeal in defiance of the facts. He gives no evidence that the GOP race is rigged; Trump’s votes have closely mirrored his poll results. As for the Democrats, several political scientists have shown that the results are not “rigged”. NY Times political blogger Nate Cohen has a model showing that “9 percentage points better in primaries than in caucuses“. More seriously, Alan I. Abramowitz (Prof of political science at Emory) has a model of the 2016 Democratic primaries

“This model uses three predictors from the Democratic primary exit polls — percentage of African-American voters, percentage of self-identified Democrats, and region — and it explains 90% of the variance in 19 primaries to date for which exit poll data are available, excluding Sanders’ home state of Vermont…”

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Thomas Frank explains how the Democrats became Liberals for the Rich

Summary: The insurgencies on the Left and Right against their parties’ elites by populists and progressives has been much discussed but little analyzed. Previous posts discussed how the Republican Party abandoned America’s workers. Here Thomas Frank, one of the most insightful observers of the Left, explains how the Democratic Party abandoned the progressive movement and America’s workers. The revolutions in both parties will not end in November, no matter what the outcome.

Boston skyline

The Blue State Model:
How the Democrats Created a Liberalism of the Rich

by Thomas Frank
From TomDispatch, 29 March 2016. Reposted with permission

Introduction by Tom Engelhardt

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? is, in a sense, a history of how, from the Clintonesque 1990s on, the Democratic Party managed to ditch the working class (hello, Donald Trump!) and its New Deal tradition, throw its support behind a rising “professional” and technocratic class, and go gaga over Wall Street and those billionaires to come. In the process, its leaders fell in love with Goldman Sachs and every miserable trade pact that hit town, led the way in deregulating the financial system, and helped launch what Frank terms “the greatest wave of insider looting ever seen”; the party, that is, went Silicon Valley and left Flint, Michigan, to the Republicans.

Only a few years after Bill Clinton vacated the Oval Office the financial system he and his team had played such a role in deregulating had to be rescued, lock, stock, and barrel from ultimate collapse. Quite a record all in all.

Put another way, as Frank makes clear, in these years the Democrats (with obvious exceptions) became a more or less traditional Republican party. And if the Democrats are now the party of inequality, then what in the world are the Republicans? Don’t even get me started on the cliff that crew walked off of.

In the following post, adapted from his new book, Frank does a typically brainy thing. Since we’ve all heard for years about how the Democrats have been stopped from truly pursuing their political program by Republican experts in political paralysis, he turns to a rare set of places where, in fact, the Republicans were incapable of getting in the way and… well, let him tell the story.

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